The Single Local Growth Fund

Here is a quick summary of the detail announced in June by Danny Alexander. He announced ‘Investing in Britain’s Future’, the vision of “how the British economy can succeed in the global race, by creating balanced growth and delivering lasting prosperity.” Plans were set out for over £100 billion of this for the infrastructure of the country, which included housing, roads, rail and superfast broadband.

He also announced details of the Single Local Growth Fund (SLGF). The Spending Round confirmed the Government’s commitment to local leadership on economic development, giving greater power and influence to LEPs, by:

bringing the resources under the strategic influence of LEPs to at least £20 billion in the years to 2021;

creating a Single Local Growth Fund (SLGF) with over £2 billion of budgets from skills, housing and transport for 2015-16;

making a further commitment of £5 billion of transport funding in the SLGF from 2016-17 to 2020-21 to enable long-term planning of priority infrastructure while also committing to maintain the SLGF at a total of at least £2 billion each year in the next Parliament;

and giving LEPs responsibility for how €6.2 billion (£5.3 billion) of EU Structural and Investment Funds is spent.

The Government has so far allocated £2.4 billion through the Regional Growth Fund to 300 projects and programmes, which have pledged to deliver 500,000 jobs and £13 billion of private sector investment.

Building on the success of these previous rounds, the Spending Round announces £300 million funding a year for a refocused Regional Growth Fund (RGF) in both 2015-16 and 2016-17 to support projects and programmes to create economic growth and sustain private sector employment.

The SLGF will provide LEPs with the flexibility to tackle the barriers to growth in their areas and provide influence over the key levers of transport, skills and housing. An area’s allocation from the SLGF will be available to be spent on the priorities LEPs and their partners have determined in their strategic economic plans.

In addition to over £800 million of local major transport funding transferred to the SLGF in 2015-16, a further £300 million from other transport funding streams will be included, providing £1.1 billion of funding to support investments in local transport projects.

In addition, there will be a further commitment of over £5 billion of transport funding from 2016-17 to 2020-21. The Government will also put £500 million of skills funding under local control, to allow local employers to drive the provision that they need to maximise growth in their areas.

Inclusion of a proportion of the New Homes Bonus in the SLGF in 2015-16 will ensure LEPs and LAs work together on economic development priorities, including housing, across the LEP area. LEPs need to demonstrate the impact that they can achieve with greater funding and flexibility, and over time the Government will seek to expand the scope of funding included.

LEPs will be asked to develop multi-year strategic plans, bringing together funding proposals from the SLGF with plans for EU Structural and Investment Funds, and details of leveraged funding from local authorities and the wider public and private sector. These plans will cover 2015-16 to 2020-21 and ensure that everyone with an interest in a local area is driving in the same direction.

The Government will publish guidance on the strategic plans and the Growth Deals process by the summer. On the basis of these strategic plans central Government and each LEP will negotiate a “Growth Deal” to give local areas greater resources, powers and influence. This will include an allocation from the SLGF, made at a single point through a competitive process. Much to do, and further detail to be announced in the next fortnight or so – we’ll update further as more information flows through.

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